Hastings & Bexhill Rugby Club succumbed to its first defeat of the Kent One season with a 36-17 loss away to Park House on Saturday.
For the first 20 minutes, H&B played without fluency, during which time a disbelieving but grateful Park House helped themselves to four tries and a bonus point.
A turnaround in the second half dragged H&B back to within one score of a bonus point themselves, and more importantly restored a little pride and credibility, but overall this was one for future motivation sessions, not for the scrapbook.
By the end of the first quarter, Park House had scored two tries down the left flank with barely a hand laid on them, one through the midfield, and a well-controlled lineout catch-and-drive try.
Great carrying and driving by Jimmy Adams and Steve McManus saw the ball whipped wide, Calvin Crosby-Clarke scoring an unconverted try, 24-5. Just as it seemed H&B were turning a corner, Park House hit back again with a pushover try from a scrum five.
A Ben Campbell interception saw Eliot Parry chasing his own chip to the line. Jason Holewell charged down the attempted clearance, Kit Claughton gathering the loose ball for a try, converted by Tom Waring, 29-12.
Bruce Steadman broke down his wing, chipping and chasing chase for an unconverted touchdown. A physical arm wrestle ensued, then from a lineout in the red zone and another powerful drive, Park House stretched their lead to 36-17. H&B drop from first to third.
Rye Rugby Club, meanwhile, lost 30-19 away to Chichester III in Sussex One. The result leaves them second-bottom with just one win from their first five games. See Friday’s Observers for full reports on both matches.